The arrival of 2022 was supposed to mark our triumphant return to the office. But this ‘return’ is not equally true for everyone. With the configuration of work altered, perhaps permanently, the great challenge for Human Resource (HR) teams is: What is the new normal and what are the workforce's expectations?
There is no playbook for what HR is facing today because there is no precedent for what the world has just gone through and – in many ways – is still going through. While the pandemic may have become an endemic in some places, the flux that we have lived with has an air of permanence as people return to the office to find large empty spaces or are greeted by desks and community spaces re-arranged to fit the new normal, with many of their colleagues still not in the office on a daily basis.
So, whether the Great Resignation is a real phenomenon or only anecdotally true, one thing is for sure: organisations are facing a talent crunch and they lack the data to make decisions quickly in response to rapidly changing conditions.
The challenges that HR face
With organisations accelerating their digital transformation, and business models being reinvented, the competition for talent continues unabated in the pursuit of people who are adaptable and who have the skill sets required for the new world of business.
This is made even more challenging, where in spite of inflation and a looming recession, people are still leaving their jobs. The new generation of workers comprising Gen Z and millennials would rather be out of work than be unhappy at work, say 56 percent of respondents in a 2022 Randstad Workmonitor survey. That survey, which reached 35,000 workers across 34 markets, is reflective of a sea change in attitudes in the workplace. It revealed that 40 percent had actually quit because their jobs did not fit "with their personal life."
Aside from relying on sparks of rumours about who's leaving, how can leaders retain their best talent?
Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) face many challenges in this time where normal attrition models no longer apply, and new levels of complexity surround employee health and wellness, beyond conventional medical insurance. They also face daily responsibilities such as remaining up-to-date on government guidelines to keep the workforce safe and motivated, and dealing with issues like vaccine hesitancy and filling skills gaps in the company, all of which cannot be resolved through partnership with business leaders alone. Today's HR systems are simply not capable of supporting the kinds of insights HR teams need for the new landscape. Too much data, as always, is spread across disparate systems for them to efficiently function and allocate resources in wake of this new model.
Retain talent by giving HR the insights they need
What if organisations were better equipped to retain people, and only had to fill the gaps for where skills are needed? How do CHROs achieve this?
Predictive engagement is an area that organisations can build up to better understand which employees intend to leave. It provides insights for the business to plan for and negate gaps that managers perhaps cannot yet see.
Organisations need to step up and arm their HR teams with the tools they need, such as self-service analytics that can be easily understood by a HR professional – not a data scientist – to perform tasks like measure “contemplation” rates in addition to resignation rates; measure the impact of attrition on profit; and discover better ways to measure employee engagement to better understand how to influence employee “stickiness” and improve productivity.
These easy-to-understand analytics tools can empower business users with comprehensible and actionable insights. HR teams need to have their finger on the pulse, and there's nothing worse than providing them a dashboard that posts outdated information which does not allow for current insights. When you give your CHRO and their teams the tools they can easily use and understand – that's when they can access predictive insights on retention based on employee engagement and satisfaction to get a more accurate sense of the employee sentiment. It also allows CHROs to partner with managers within the organisation to better understand the talent pipeline and hiring needs, while ensuring diversity and quality in new hires.
For example, beauty retailer Sephora discovered this when it embarked on transforming its Human Resource Management (HRM) system. As part of its digital transformation strategy, the brand wanted to leverage unique technology to drive full value through dynamic analysis. Sephora made available to all its managers a single source of truth for all their HR data. No matter where they are based, managers throughout the organisation now have access to this data in real-time, increasing visibility and saving substantial time.
These tools help modernise and automate talent acquisition so that CHROs can partner with managers within the organisation to easily understand the talent pipeline and hiring needs, while ensuring diversity and quality in new hires.
When one gets down to it, people do not leave companies because the organisation is all bad.
Every organisation has something going for it. Sometimes a check-in or message at the right time, could be the difference between keeping the workforce motivated and engaged versus not. If organisations can prevent people from leaving, suddenly, they are in a better position to meet needs, not just fill never-ending gaps.
By optimising HR systems and establishing an intelligent, modern analytics platform to help HR teams have a holistic view of employee sentiment and performance, HR can turn the Great Resignation challenge into an opportunity. Maybe your success could even turn into a new trend: The Great Retention. You never know.